‘Worship In Pink’ adapts breast cancer outreach in pandemic

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17 churches now part of Worship in Pink, using Zoom and streaming videos

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Julianne Johnson is not only a well-known singer, she’s also a Worship In Pink ambassador for the program that helps women dealing with breast cancer.

Johnson became involved in the program in 2011 after watching her mom and good friends battle the disease.

“A lot of women in the choir were either dealing with cancer at the time or they’d been through it,” Johnson told KOIN 6 News. “One lady said she’d had cancer for 40 years.”

Worship In Pink started as a grant that Susan G. Komen awarded to the Legacy Health Foundation. Now, 17 churches are participating and the focus is the importance of screening in the early detection of breast cancer, which disproportionately affects women of color.

A Worship In Pink clergy breakfast in 2019 (Courtesy photo)

“It’s got a vengeance. It’s just a horrible, horrible thing when you don’t have somebody and you don’t have the support,” she said. “It’s horrible we get it and it moves so aggressively through us and then we’re gone. So I’m imploring our people, Black people, Black women to be more open with each other, to talk more with each other about what the troubles are, what are they feeling.”

As with most things during the pandemic, Worship In Pink looks different this year. There is a different breast health topic every Saturday in October via Zoom, and there’s a video churches can stream during their Sunday services.

Right now they reach about 9500 people but they’re hoping to reach more.

“We’re getting better,” Johnson said. “Let’s be positive. We’re getting better but we need more people to be involved and need more people to see that there’s a need.”

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